Trouble with the neighbours - residents complain about their lives being made hell on Ashton industrial estate

Residents on a quiet Ashton street say their lives are being blighted by three businesses disturbing their lives. However, the businesses have hit back and say they are doing everything they can to co-exist peacefully with their neighbours.

Yvonne Dale and a neighbour, who wishes to remain anonymous, say they have been taking three firms to task for some time over loud noises, noxious smells and environmental matters.

The three they say they have problems with are Aytac foods and ‘material recovery facility’, both on Whitelands Road, and Tulip abattoir on Bow Street.

Yvonne says that she believes the problems have escalated over the past two years, and that their sleep is constantly being disturbed by Aytac foods working throughout the night.

“It just seems to have escalated in the last two years,” said Yvonne.

“Monday and Tuesday are the worst nights, they don’t work Saturday night and Sunday, but they start loading sometimes on a Sunday so we’ve seen lorries coming out at half five in the morning.”

However, in a statement Aytac denied the allegations of excessive noise and invited the Reporter to visit their premises to show how they work. 

They said they had invested heavily in electronic warehouse equipment to minimise loading noise and only load during normal working hours. They also pointed out there is a tree lined berm around the premises which they state should act as a natural barrier for both noise and light.

Tameside Council had offered to install listening equipment in the homes of the complainants, but they declined as they “didn’t want the intrusion.”

But the residents voiced their displeasure against a new fence that was installed around the property, after a number of break-ins and thefts from the Aytac site. 

They say that the fence is much larger than necessary and will be visible through the bare trees when they lose their leaves in winter.

However, Aytac say they’re making the neighbourhood safer for everyone by preventing people from breaking in and using the area to take drugs - as has happened recently.

The residents were also concerned about recent demolition at the Tulip site. The abattoir began demolition on an old building on the site to create a car park in September, 2018. However, they had to stop to apply for retrospective planning permission for the change. This permission was subsequently granted by the council.

The residents voiced concerns that the old building contained asbestos and questioned if proper precautions had been taken to protect those living nearby during demolition. 

“They literally just started knocking it down at all hours of the day and on Sundays. We complained and they did stop after that,” said Yvonne.

“We believed there was asbestos in there. They just literally pulled it down. The dust was awful. There was dust, noise, drilling and they had cranes banging.

“It was a nightmare. I’m considering moving. But who’s going to buy the houses? It used to be a really nice, quiet place.”

Tulip issued the following statement in response to the concerns: “Tulip Ashton has approximately 600 employees, making it one of the biggest employers in Greater Manchester. The local community is very important to us and we’re always looking at ways we can engage and support local residents where possible.

“Tulip Ashton is regulated through an environmental permit, granted by the Environment Agency. Throughout the demolition process and decommission of facilities at Conduit Street in 2018, Tulip was required to adhere to the highest levels of environmental regulations. All decommissioning plans were submitted to the Environment Agency, while we also worked closely with local authorities.

“A site asbestos management plan was implemented and work was carried out by accredited contractors, who are approved for demolition and the safe disposal of asbestos. 

“The site was also visited by external environmental consultants throughout the process who ensured that the work was carried out safely and correctly.

“The signs that have been erected are a legal requirement and warn people not to enter the area due to the potential risk of asbestos.

“The new car park and parking barrier system are for overflow use only – they will only be in operation during normal daytime working hours.”

The residents say their third problem comes with the ‘material recovery facility’, which has been taken over by a team from Chester Finance and Leasing on behalf of Lord Jame of Blackheath CBE. 

The locals say they are constantly disturbed by the smell emanating from the site. 

They said: “We have had problems. We’ve had long lines of lorries queuing up outside of houses and 8.15am.

“We reported the noise and to give them their due, they did make all the lorries park that way [down the road].

“With the tip we’re now down to the smell. They’ve told us they’ve installed perfumed fans and a deodorising system - but they actually said to us that it didn’t smell - why would they install them then if it didn’t smell?

“It’s like a metallic, animal bone, sort of smell. Like the old Kingston stink. It’s that sort of smell that you used to get all the time and if they’ve got open lorries when they go past you can smell that.

“You can’t have your windows open or sit outside because the smell makes you feel sick.

“There’s no noise, I’ll give them their dues - it’s just the smell.”

After contacting the management team for a response to the residents’ questions, the management team of the tip invited the Reporter down to the site for a visit to find out about the work they do.

The location has been taken over from the previous operating
company and the new team say
they are working to address environmental concerns. 

Director of Chester Finance and Leasing Ltd Ian Crewe explained that the work they’re undertaking at the site is a test for further sites. They are looking at creating a pro-duct that can be sold, negating the amount of rubbish eventually sent to landfill. The team there say they’ve taken on the entire liability for the site, saving the tax payer £1m.

On the visit to the site they showed the work they’d carried out to the site since taking over, including installation of new machines, a new weigh bridge and site offices.

In an attempt to combat the smell, deodorising fans - which spray a scent into the atmosphere around the tip to mask the smell - have been installed at locations around the site. 

Mr Crewe said they are doing what they can to negate the impact on local residents and the local environment. 

He said: “We haven’t said it doesn’t smell full stop, we’ve said that it only smells when we’re actually processing or disturbing the waste stock.

“Many times we’ve received complaints and we were shut for infrastructure works. So it literally couldn’t be us.

“If you look at the wording used I would suggest it’s more likely to be the abattoir.”

It is hoped all of the measurements implemented will ease the problems for the residents who live nearby.

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